23 October 2014

Baby doll dress and my new BFF

I am rewinding a month to show you the dress I made for Aimee to wear on her birthday. In amidst all the party preparation and baking, I decided to make her something to wear. Because, yanno, what's one more job to add to the to-do list? Admittedly, it was very tempting to just go and get her a store-bought Minnie Mouse dress-up costume, but then I remembered that I had a lovely pale pink cotton polka dot fabric sitting on my shelf. I sketched something that would be relatively simple to make but that would resemble a Minnie Mouse oufit - puffed sleeves, fitted bodice, full skirt. In the end, my design looked nothing like a Minnie Mouse costume at all but it is something she has happily worn since on a regular basis.
Heard of ironing? Me neither.
I sewed the dress with an elasticated neckline, which is quicker for me to do than sew a yoke and insert a button or zip at the back. The top part of the dress is effectively a peasant top with a shortened waist. There were many trial fittings to check that the dress would fit and after the patience of my model started to wear a bit thin, I decided to leave the elastic out of the sleeve casings and quickly hemmed them. The whole project was completed within an hour after dinner one evening.

What I was most pleased about was getting a chance to road-test my new gathering foot for my overlocker and discovering that it is my new best friend. I've owned a Huskylock S21 for a little over two years and still don't really know what it is capable of doing but it does look pretty sitting on my table and that's the most important thing. Using the gathering foot was either going to be a huge timesaver or I was going to end up spending more time than I wanted to hunched over my machine in frustration learning to make this contraption work properly.
Say hello to my little friend.
It is kind of scary-looking and I wasn't even sure which way round it was meant to go on the machine at first. I've put some fake sewing in to demonstrate some fake gathering so you can see how everything should look if you are as technically-challenged as me.
Before making this purchase, I had been doing the usual two parallel lines of basting stitches on my sewing machine first, then gathering and finally sewing the skirt to the bodice. The gathering foot does this all in one step and sometimes quicker is just better, I find. I need more practice to get the ruffles more even by adjusting some of the settings and needle tension on my overlocker but I am so happy to know that this machine can perform this function.
Aimee wears the dress to school the minute it has been washed (but not ironed) and put back in her drawer and it is slowly getting covered in paint and felt-tip stains, which only proves the point that she lives in it, and I kinda like that she likes it that much.

What have you been making lately? Come over and see what everyone else has been up to this week at Leonie's Show and Tell link-up.

15 October 2014

Tantrums and sore shins - and a flow-chart

Look guys, I don't want to sound like I am a doomsayer, but man, I just knew that kick in the teeth was coming. Except it wasn't my teeth, it was my shin courtesy of a surfboard with flailing arms and legs that looked suspiciously like my daughter. Far out. Fresh into the new term and I have borne the brunt of some rather spectacular hangry meltdowns outside the school gates two days in a row. Character-building stuff. But, please, for the love of my shins, let there not be a third time. Please.
Well, I didn't say it was a good flow-chart, but hopefully it gets my point across.
Having been so well-behaved for six hours, she just could not muster another 10 minutes of doe-eyed goodness. We only live about 50 metres away from the school, and she simply decided that was about 49 metres too far to walk. I could feel the judgey eyes of parents on me as I disciplined my child for hurting me (albeit accidentally), and guess what? It did not bother me at all. People can assume all they want about my parenting abilities; the bottom line is I have been tested far too many times to actually care what other people may think of me. Maybe I am just jaded from nine years of parenting, or maybe it can be put down to my star sign (sure, why not?), but if you mess with the bull, eventually you're gonna get the horns.

So we made it home finally, with only a few fence posts being apportioned some child rage at the injustice of the world and it was off to her room to calm down before she could join the rest of us for some afternoon tea. I wonder if martial arts are in her future? I should look into some lessons.

Now, my clearly amazing parenting skill-set and ability to handle pain aside, I've been thinking about the best way to handle a child whose temperament makes it much harder for them to deal with frustration and contain emotion. The key is to stop a tantrum before it gets started. So, this afternoon, I am going in prepared. There will be a small conciliatory bag of snacks ready to offer on that obviously exceedingly taxing 50 metre walk home. I could be setting myself up for more calamity because naturally, they will not be the right kind of snacks. I have completely scaled back after-school activities for this term and there will just be quiet time at home instead in preparation for the next school day.

So, if you see me on the school run today, smile, give me a wave and tell me I am doing a good job. I probably won't acknowledge your kind comment since I don't actually care what you think (remember??^^^), but inwardly I'll be crying tears of joy that at least someone is validating me on this thankless parenting journey.